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A Laboratory Comparison Of Uniform And Discriminative Price Auctions Forreducing Non-Point Source Pollution

  • Timothy N. Cason
  • Lata Gangadharan

Land use changes to reduce non-point source pollution, such as nutrient runoff to waterways from agricultural production, incur opportunity costs that are privately known to landholders. Auctions may permit the regulator to identify those management changes that have greater environmental benefit and lower opportunity cost. This paper reports a testbed laboratory experiment in which landowner/sellers compete in sealed-offer auctions to obtain part of a fixed budget allocated by the regulator to subsidize pollution abatement. One treatment employs uniform price auction rules in which the price is set at the lowest price per unit of environmental benefits submitted by a seller who had all of her offers rejected. Another treatment employs discriminative price rules in which successful sellers receive their offer price. Our results indicate that subjects recognize the cost-revelation incentives of the uniform price auction, as a majority of offers are within 2 percent of cost. By contrast, a majority of offers in the discriminative price auction are at least 8 percent greater than cost. Nevertheless, the regulator spends more per unit of environmental benefit in the uniform price auction, and the discriminative price auction has superior overall market performance.

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Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 882.

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Length: 80 pages
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:882
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  1. Back, Kerry & Zender, Jaime F, 1993. "Auctions of Divisible Goods: On the Rationale for the Treasury Experiment," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(4), pages 733-64.
  2. Holt, Charles A, Jr, 1980. "Competitive Bidding for Contracts under Alternative Auction Procedures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 433-45, June.
  3. Uwe Latacz-Lohmann & Carel Van der Hamsvoort, 1997. "Auctioning Conservation Contracts: A Theoretical Analysis and an Application," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(2), pages 407-418.
  4. Maskin, Eric & Riley, John, 2000. "Asymmetric Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 413-38, July.
  5. Kagel, John H & Harstad, Ronald M & Levin, Dan, 1987. "Information Impact and Allocation Rules in Auctions with Affiliated Private Values: A Laboratory Study," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1275-1304, November.
  6. Sushil Bikhchandani & Chi-fu Huang, 1993. "The Economics of Treasury Securities Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 117-134, Summer.
  7. Umlauf, Steven R., 1993. "An empirical study of the Mexican Treasury bill auction," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 313-340, June.
  8. Cason, Timothy N. & Gangadharan, Lata & Duke, Charlotte, 2003. "A laboratory study of auctions for reducing non-point source pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 446-471, November.
  9. Tenorio, Rafael, 1993. "Revenue Equivalence and Bidding Behavior in a Multi-unit Auction Market: An Empirical Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 302-14, May.
  10. Cox, James C & Smith, Vernon L & Walker, James M, 1984. " Theory and Behavior of Multiple Unit Discriminative Auctions," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 39(4), pages 983-1010, September.
  11. Smith, Vernon L, 1982. "Microeconomic Systems as an Experimental Science," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 923-55, December.
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